Lose Your Ear and Win the War; Bertha Going in Circles


The weather is the same as I said yesterday. Lots of sun. Hot afternoons, cool morning for a few more days. Humidity increasing as the week progresses but it probably wont get tough until Friday. Scattered t’storms not totally out the question for Friday and Sunday. Otherwise, highs in upper 80’s to near 90 for Tuesday. Low to mid 90’s rest of the week. Snow White and I sculled on Monday afternoon and I not only went farther than I did when I almost collapsed, but did so in a faster time as well. Humidity makes a lot of difference.

Tropical Storm Bertha is pretty lame. It sat in one place long enough that it knocked what warm water there was off the surface and allowed colder water to come to the surface which caused it to lose intensity. Well, its on the move again and will go back over warmer water and may get back to hurricane status. It runs into a ridge, and drifts a bit, loses intensity and starts a loop back to the southeast. In general one would think Bertha is done for. It’s been around for a long time and it’s wandering. While it is eventually forecast to move toward Europe, I would caution though…there was a hurricane in 1971 named Ginger. It was around for about two weeks and looked like it would stay way out to sea. The storm seemed to the experts like it was a good candidate for a cloud seeding experiment known as project Stormfury. That was an effort ended in 1982 that was partly an attempt to modify hurricanes. They had figured it was safe since the forecast said it would stay far out to sea…never mind the first storm to tracked by satellite was only two years before with Camille. They figured they were experts. Anyway, after it was seeded, the experiment suddenly came home. The winds were not very strong at all but the rains were enormous and some weren’t so sure that they may have killed the winds but increased the rainfall potential. Let’s hope there isn’t another experiment in the offing.

On This Date in History: On July 15, 1742, the colony of Georgia was secured for the British Empire. The rallying cause? A mummified ear. In 1731 Robert Jenkins was the master and commander of the ship Rebecca. There was supposedly a peace between Spain and England but a Spanish war ship stopped the Rebecca near Havana and boarded her. Not only did the Spaniards take the cargo, but they also cut off Jenkins’ ear for good measure. Seven years later, the English parliament was debating whether or not Spanish monkey business was enough to declare war. Jenkins came in to testify, though it’s not clear why it took 7 years for him to tell his tale. But, when he concluded his testimony he unwrapped his ear, which he apparently had mummified for a keepsake. The grotesque display of an old ear was the tipping point and it was off to war to avenge the ear!

The ensuing war in Georgia became known as The War of Jenkins Ear and on this date in 1742 that war was won when James Oglethorpe hornswaggled the Spanish. Oglethorpe had founded the Georgian colony in 1732 by convincing Parliament that the way to prevent incursions into Georgia from Spanish Florida was by establishing a colony. He set up the colony as a place for those released from debtors prison to start a new life. England was all too happy to oblige and send the deadbeats across the pond. Well, Oglethorpe found himself in a desperate situation. He had repelled an attack by Spanish forces at Frederica but he was largely outnumbered. While the Spanish regrouped, a deserter from Oglethorpe’s fort went to the Spanish and told them where to find the weak point in the British defenses. The Spanish prepared to attack. But Oglethorpe found out about the deserter and, in turn, released a Spanish prisoner with “secret” instructions for the deserter to carry out the plan to bring the Spanish into his “trap”. Of course there was no trap and no secret instructions but the released prisoner didn’t know that and the Spanish commanders didn’t know it and they fell for it. They withdrew and the battle of the ear was over.

The war went on elsewhere until 1748, but Georgia continued as a British colony, became one of the original 13 states and the state showed its gratitude by giving us Jimmy Carter.

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